It will remind you that immediate gratification has a downside, which doesn’t align with your new long-term goals. It’s a mental exercise that is easy to do anywhere and at anytime. She enjoys interviewing medical experts and researchers about their work and is passionate about communicating accurate and relevant health information to the public. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Sunnyside provides a simple but structured approach to help you drink more mindfully.

You might run into obstacles along the way that tempt you to drink. Keep in mind the reasons you chose to cut back on how to reduce alcohol cravings or quit alcohol. At the end of the day, one of the most important tools you have at your disposal is self-compassion.

The three basic steps of urge surfing:

It is better to accept them as normal and actively treat them through a variety of methods, including possibly taking medication. There is some scientific evidence suggesting acupuncture provided by a qualified practitioner can help cut alcohol consumption and lessen alcohol withdrawal symptoms (11). Meditation, practiced on your own or via guided meditation, can help you learn to react less to alcohol cravings (8). This can be a key to breaking the hold that your triggers to drink have on you. Naltrexone is a medication that belongs to a group of drugs known as opioid antagonists.

  • In January 2020, more than 6 million people reportedly participated in Dry January, a campaign to reduce alcohol consumption organized by Alcohol Change UK.
  • Are you ready to quit drinking or cut down to healthier levels?
  • A singular intense craving for alcohol typically lasts between 3-5 minutes.
  • Handling the urges to drink will determine your ability to shed alcohol cravings.

It could take some time and effort to find a strategy that helps you navigate them effectively, but you do have plenty of options for support. Cravings are response patterns that can be induced by these and other triggers. Although sometimes cravings may appear to simply come out of nowhere, they are usually the result of a situation, feeling, or memory that one has about former alcohol use. Acamprosate – this alcohol craving medication can reverse the state of alcohol dependency no matter how long alcohol cravings last. It can be combined with therapy to effectively cope with relapse. This medication is approved for alcoholic treatment in the U.S since June 2004.

Struggling with alcohol cravings? Try this 1-minute trick to combat them.

Cravings for alcohol can be intense, particularly in the first six months after you quit drinking. Good alcohol treatment prepares you for these challenges, helping you develop new coping skills to deal with stressful situations, alcohol cravings, and social pressure to drink. While craving management tools can be very helpful, cravings can still be intense and overwhelming for many people. It can be heartening to know that there are FDA-approved medications to help you stop drinking, including naltrexone. Naltrexone works by blocking the pleasurable effects of drinking, which can reduce the frequency and intensity of cravings.

Make a note about how you feel physically and mentally on these days—recognizing the benefits may help you to cut down for good. Are you ready to quit drinking or cut down to healthier levels? One of the best ways to improve your health mentally and physically is to get regular physical activity. This not only clears your mind but helps boost your metabolism and strengthen your body at the same time.

How to stop alcohol cravings with a plan for success

When not consuming alcohol, you may experience emotional distress, anxiety, and intense cravings as a result of these changes in brain chemistry. Alternatively, you may wish to contact a private provider, like Priory, directly. Our world class alcohol Addiction Treatment Programmes offer round-the-clock support, helping you to take steps towards a full and sustainable recovery. We offer a free addiction assessment, medically assisted detoxification, one-to-one and group therapy, family support and free aftercare for 12 months. We also offer flexible treatment options, including day care and outpatient addiction treatment if you just need some ongoing support to manage your cravings, as opposed to intensive residential rehab. If stress or other difficult emotions are triggers for your cravings, it’s a good idea to learn some stress-busting or anxiety-relieving techniques to help you cope with these emotions.

how to reduce alcohol cravings

Discover more energy, restful sleep, and improved wellness with a plan designed to fit your life. You might reach for alcohol when you’re really just thirsty, says Crews. Drink a cup of soothing tea or a tall glass of water before you imbibe—once your thirst is quenched, you may not feel the need for as much—or any—alcohol. Yogurt contains probiotics that are beneficial for gut health, which can be damaged from prolonged heavy drinking.

And, once again, medication often works best when combined with a larger support system. Whether that means group meetings, coaching via a telehealth app, or regular therapy sessions, the right combination can help you establish a lasting change. Naltrexone, acamprosate, baclofen, topiramate, and gabapentin can all help reduce cravings for alcohol.

Eating simple carbohydrates and processed foods may induce cravings. For comparison, regular beer is 5% alcohol by volume (alc/vol), table wine is about 12% alc/vol, and straight 80-proof distilled spirits is 40% alc/vol. Get to know what 5 ounces looks like by measuring it out at home. That way you can estimate how many standard drinks you’re being served in a restaurant or bar that uses large glasses and generous serving sizes. Malt beverages are not required to list their alcohol content on the labels, so you may need to visit the bottler’s Web site.

As you experience alcohol cravings, start to note the environment, emotions, people, and other context clues that surround them. As you notice patterns, you’ll be able to identify what your potential triggers are, and make a plan for either avoiding them or preparing for them in advance. If you’re trying to quit and need help stopping your alcohol consumption, give us a call. Our friendly staff will gladly offer advice and guidance to help you make the right decision to change your drinking habit and will answer any questions or concerns you may have.

  • As a practicing physician, Josh helps manage the NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue addiction medicine clinic in adult primary care.
  • Omega-3-rich fish like salmon and mackerel may also help improve focus and overall brain health.
  • Learning more about the science behind cravings can help you better understand your experience and what to expect in the alcohol recovery timeline.